Lisa Shapiro – Studio owner since 1988. Teaches classes (all levels) in jazz, tap, ballet, and pointe. Choreographer for high school musicals including: Cats, Damn Yankees, Back to the 80s, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, Guys and Dolls, and Hello Dolly. Co-creator of an in-house Ballet Company for 18 years that performed original choreography in fairy tale themed shows including Beauty and The Beast, Cinderella, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, The Wiz of Oz, Anastasia, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King, Oliver, Read Me A Story, The King and I, Annie, and The Wizard of Oz. Previous teaching experience includes team-teaching the dance program three years at a public high school. Joined her childhood dance teacher to run the after school dance program at Ferndale High School in 1979; took over the program in 1981.
Erin Goldsworthy – Graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a degrees in communications, economics and education. Trained for two years in the EMU Dance program in modern and ballet. Performance experience includes dancing with the Peter Sparling Dance Company in Ann Arbor. Co-director of an in-house Ballet Company for 8 years that performed original choreography in fairy tale themed shows including, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, The Wiz of Oz, Anastasia, The Lion King, Oliver, Annie, and The Wizard of Oz. Currently responsible for the maintenance and development of the studio website. Assistant Artistic Director and Director of offsite programming. Dancing at Center Stage since 1994. Teaches: jazz, ballet, pointe, hip hop, and preschool.
Office Manager: Renee Siracusa
Systems Manager: Holly Tilton
Office Staff: Allie Waisanen
Erin Bonser-Sattler – BS, Wayne State University, K-12 Dance Education and 6-12 Health Education. While dancing at Wayne State University, Ms. Erin performed with CompanyOne, Wayne's in-house dance company. During her two years as member, she traveled with the group to inner city elementary schools to perform a children's based dance program. Ms. Erin has taught at Livonia Churchill High School in their Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) program. Choreography experience includes Northville High School's production of Cats and Dexter High School's production of Back to the 80s. Ms. Erin teaches tap, ballet, jazz and pointe at CSDC.
Heather Briggs – 5th grade teacher at Wooddale Elementary in Farmington Hills; graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a BS in elementary education with a focus in math and health education; dancing at Center Stage since 1989. Teaches: ballet and pointe.
Melissa Holmes – Graduate of Michigan State University with a BS in child development, and an emphasis on elementary education, and language arts. She started dancing at age 2, and has been going ever since! Her history includes training in, and teaching of, ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, baton, and hula; but her love for ballet was cemented when she earned a part in the Nutcracker when she was 8 years old. In line with that love, Melissa also co-directed the Center Stage in-house ballet company for three seasons during her college years including productions of Anastasia, Beauty and the Beast, and the King and I. After moving away for a few years, she is back in the area and thrilled to be back teaching at Center Stage.
Lauren McCausland- Lauren grew up in Northville where she began her dance training at age six. Lauren studied tap, jazz, hip, hop, and lyrical and graduated from Northville High School as a Center Stage Dance Company alumni. Lauren attended the University of Michigan where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a focus on child development. She was invited to be a part of the University’s student tap group, RhythM Tap Ensemble, during her freshman year and was elected to Director one year later. After graduating from U of M, Lauren moved to Northern Virginia and shared her love of dance at Studio Bleu Dance Center. As Studio Director, Lauren taught tap, jazz, and creative movement while directing a competition team of over 200 students. Lauren studied under (and taught along side) some of the industry’s most prominent dancers including Savion Glover, Ivery Wheeler, Jason Janas, and Chloe and Maud Arnold of the Syncopated Ladies. Lauren’s students represented the state of Virginia in local and national events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and her competition team won countless regional and national titles. Lauren also worked for Starpower International as a competition judge, providing constructive critiques to dancers (and teachers) all over the country. Lauren continues to strive each day to instill confidence and self-awareness within her students through the art of dance and is passionate about motivating dancers to grow both technically and artistically. She currently works as a Registered Nurse at the University of Michigan’s University Hospital in Ann Arbor.
Tara Nepa – Graduated from The University of the Arts with a BFA in Jazz Dance Education where she was awarded the Outstanding Student Teaching Award. Her previous positions include; Adjunct Faculty Member, Lecturer, and Interim Administrative Assistant for University of the Arts Dance Department, Festival Coordinator for the 9th National High School Dance Festival, Production Assistant for the Garden State Dance Festival, choreographer for West Chester University’s Dance Company, University of Pennsylvania - Sparks Dance Team, Camp Wilma and Welsh Valley Middle School. Tara was a six-year member, Captain, and 2006 Pro Bowl Cheerleader for The Philadelphia Eagles. As a cheerleader, she traveled overseas to Kosovo and Bosnia to entertain the U.S. troops, performed for Super Bowl XXIX, Super Bowl XXXI, and the New Year’s Celebration in Hong Kong. Assistant Director of TEAM programming. She fulfills her dance passion through educating dancers and fitness fanatics in ballet, jazz, lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop, & Zumba throughout the Metro Detroit Area. In her spare time, Tara is an independent make-up artist for photography and special events.
Allie Shapiro-Waisanen – Graduate of Grand Valley State University with a BS in Health Professions. Currently attending Madonna University, completing additional classes necessary to become a Registered Dietitian. Dancing at Center Stage since 1990, continued involvement in dance through college and is now back in the area teaching ballet, tap and pre-school.
Melissa Towner – Graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in elementary and Deaf education. Melissa is a certified dance instructor through Dance Masters of Wisconsin and Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. She is an alumni of Center Stage moving back to Michigan after living in Wisconsin for the past five years where she has worked as a full time dance instructor and team director/choreographer for multiple high school performance teams.
Kelly Owens – Kelly is a 2016 graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a BA in Communication Studies and Writing. During her time at the University of Michigan, she was a four-year member of EnCore Hip Hop team and RhythM Tap Ensemble, and held executive board positions for both groups during her junior and senior year. Kelly was also the lead events coordinator for Dance Mix, the largest student run dance performance on campus, during the 2015-2016 school year. This event culminates into a show with an audience of over 1,300 and over 200 performers. Kelly is currently a member of Next Level Dance Company, a professional hip hop crew out of Detroit, Michigan. She was previously a member of GLYDE (Great Lakes Youth Dance Ensemble), a youth tap ensemble for Michigan tap dancers started by Shelby Kaufman, and continues to work with Shelby today. She has been a three-time member of the Motor City Tap Festival’s Elite and Pre-Professional Crews, which has allowed her to work closely with instructors including Gregg Russell, Chloe Arnold, Sarah Reich, Jason Janas, Bril Barret, and Claudia Rahardjanoto. Kelly has been dancing at Center Stage since 2002. She continues her training by attending conventions and classes in Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and NYC. At the studio, Kelly teaches tap, hip hop, and jazz, with an additional focus on the competitive TEAM.
Suzanne Kirsch – Suzanne began her dance training at the age of five in her hometown of Clinton, Iowa, later continuing them in Morrison, IL, with teachers who had danced with the Nancy Opera Ballet in France and the Royal Ballet in London. She attended Butler University’s prestigious dance program at Jordan College of Fine Arts in Indianapolis, but seeking more diverse exposure in other genres besides ballet, completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance at the University of Iowa. During her college career, she danced in productions such as “The Nutcracker,” “Coppelia,” the world premiere of “The Planets” and George Balanchine’s “Stars and Stripes.” As dance captain on a Mississippi riverboat turned theater, in the summers she performed in “Dames at Sea” and “Guys and Dolls.” Teaching became her passion alongside work as a banker. Coming to Michigan in the mid-1990s, she taught at studios throughout the Detroit area. Suzanne has a firm commitment to continuing dance education and has attended many teacher training workshops with masters in the field of ballet such as the late Mansur Kamaletdinov, former Acting Artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Finis Jhung, John White, and the staff of the National Ballet of Canada among others. Most recently, she has become certified in the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum in New York City. Through use of the curriculum, she has seen great improvement in her students. Suzanne is a frequent guest teacher throughout the state of Michigan. For the last 16 years, she has taught dance exclusively while also being mom to two daughters. We welcomed Suzanne to the CSDC staff beginning with our 2017 summer program.
Katie Caroncino – also joined our staff in the summer of 2017. Katie is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia. She started studying Ballet at the age of 3 and quickly discovered her passion for dance at a young age. At age 7, she also began studying Modern and Jazz. She was a member of her childhood dance studio’s performing company for several years. As Katie continued her dance training throughout middle and high school, it soon became clear to her that she wanted to become a professional dancer. She attended college at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, where she received a Bachelor’s of the Arts in Dance Performance. While in college, she expanded her dance and teaching skills in Modern, Contemporary, Improvisation, and Choreography. Katie danced in numerous faculty works throughout her college years. She also enjoyed choreographing several dances for her fellow classmates, which were later selected to perform in student showcases. Throughout college, Katie also danced at Todd Rosenlieb Dance Center in Norfolk, VA. There, she stayed busy taking classes, and she was a dancer and choreographer for the performing ensemble. Upon graduating in 2012, she moved to Michigan and started pursuing her passion for teaching dance. Katie has been teaching at Neu Wixom Dance Academy since 2013, where she teaches many styles for their competition team. She will share her time between that studio and teaching dance classes at Center Stage Dance. She is also a certified yoga instructor and also certified in a hip hop dance fitness class called WERQ. Katie continues her own dance training by taking classes and continuing education seminars and workshops for teachers.
Dami (a.k.a. Dammy) – Dami started dancing at a young age training in contemporary and modern. While studying psychology at the University of Michigan, he danced with a branch of the international dance company Dance 2XS, eventually becoming one of the branches Co-Artistic Directors. He’s the former Creative Director of Next Level Dance Company, a youth and adult hip-hop dance company based in Detroit. Next Level competes across the Mid-West region and has taken 3rd place overall at World of Dance Chicago twice, as well as placing and winning at various other competitions across the Midwest and country. They have earned two invitations to compete at World of Dance International Finals L.A., once in 2015 and again in 2017. Dammy loves working with both adults and children and is always looking to push dancers to think outside of their box and find their personal style. Dami joined our staff in 2017.
Christine Sampier – Christine started dancing at the age of 4. She started with ballet and then began taking jazz and tap. Christine was a member of Community High Dance Body, where she learned modern dance and began choreographing all styles of dance for the group. She continued dancing at Washtenaw Community College with Noonie Anderson and Gayle Martin. Christine has had the pleasure of dancing with Ypsilanti Area Dancers, Patchwerk Dance Troupe, Dance 4 Unity and Factory Dance Co. She has taken master classes with Ed Kressley, Tony Randazzo, Peter Sparling, Peter Kentis and Bill DeYoung. She has performed in numerous Nutcracker performances, at Heritage Festivals, the Ann Arbor Art Fair and several showcases in Ypsilanti. Most recently she was a supernumerary for American Ballet Theater’s production of Sleeping Beauty. Currently Christine is directing and producing her fourth Nutcracker based out of Washtenaw Community College. She also choreographs for Randazzo Dance Company’s yearly production of The Nutcracker. Christine enjoys teaching all forms of dance and has begun working with groups to take to competition. Christine joined us in 2017.
All Junior Faculty are high school students who have come up through our Apprentice Program. Their own dance backgrounds are extensive in both experience and exposure to a wide variety of techniques. All Junior Faculty take weekly classes in ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, hip hop, and lyrical. Our Junior teachers participate in intra-studio workshops for choreography, class management and people skills. Regular evaluations help them to improve their teaching and communication skills.
Based on maturity level and commitment to dance, upper-level students with leadership qualities may be invited to join our Studio Assistants program or our Apprentice Program. Studio Assistants and Apprentices assist teachers by helping to demonstrate steps, combinations and choreography during classes. They serve as role models for younger dancers and as representatives of our studio. It is considered an honor to be invited into this program.
Apprentice Program Mission Statement
- To teach senior level dancers the art and mechanics of operating a dance studio business including: dance instruction, choreography, communication skills, systems management, building management, and time management.
- To demonstrate the skills necessary to instruct, nurture and develop young dancers in their pursuit of technique, self-esteem and FUN!
- To enhance the instructional flow by providing each teacher with an assistant. In time, the apprentice will assume a co-teacher role. The effect of ‘team-teaching’ will be that of a better student-to-teacher ratio and in the absence of the primary instructor the apprentice will perpetuate the class routine.
- Minimum age of an apprentice is 14, or a freshman in high school. As our program has grown, the most typical entry age for an apprentice is 15, or a sophomore in high school.
- Apprentices are invited by the director to participate in the program. Considerations for invitation include: skill level, commitment, attitude, level of participation in studio activities, leadership qualities, and dependability.
- Apprentices are compensated by the hour. They are required to document their hours on a monthly basis for reimbursement. If they cannot come to work as scheduled, they must arrange for a substitute apprentice to work with the primary instructor.
- It is strongly impressed upon the apprentices that they represent our studio, its philosophy, and its reputation, but most importantly, that the younger dancers are always watching them. They must role model in the most positive of ways at all times.
- We have regular contact with most of our Alumni. Over the years, many of them have told us that the time they spent as an Apprentice proved to be invaluable to them as they moved forward in higher education and careers.
- The young people in the Apprentice Program are a wonder. They are incredibly talented, heart-warmingly loyal, and full of the desire to achieve. It is our distinct pleasure to have the chance to help them reach their greatest potential.